Q: Why did you decide to undertake the ACICIS program?
I was initially drawn to this program by its practical and participatory approach to learning. With its offerings of language classes, cultural training, business seminars, and an internship, this program appeared—and was—both wholistic and relevant. It absolutely did not disappoint!!
Q: Did you receive a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant? Do you think the NCP is an important initiative?
I am very grateful to have received a New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant to complete this program, and will be sure to continue on my Indo-Pacific-literacy learning journey throughout the remainder of my studies and subsequent career.
Q: How have you found the academic components of this virtual program – i.e. the language classes/seminars?
With cultural training tailored specifically to young Australians – through studies of Indonesia’s history, exposure to contemporary social issues, opportunities to engage with various forms of media, a language-intensive hosted by Atma Jaya University, and rich discussions with some high-profile Indonesian economists and policy-makers – this program is both holistic and fascinating. The course also maintained connections to the current COVID-19 situation in Indonesia – which at the time of writing was the global epicentre – and began to unpack some of the nation’s unique challenges, strategies, and opportunities that have emerged in light of the pandemic.
Q: What organisation did you intern with?
I am interning with the Institute for the Development of Economics and Finance (INDEF) which is a prominent research institution based in Jakarta. I assist my mentor with research tasks related to G20 countries and have written a series of in-depth research papers about these nations’ labour policies.
Q: What are the main skills you have learnt during your virtual internship?
Working with my host organisation gave me insight into the complexities of cross-cultural communications and collaborations, and the act of completing this program alongside my university studies was a great exercise in time-management and work ethic. The tasks I have completed through my virtual internship have also refined my skills of problem-solving, critical-thinking, and report-writing, and I know that these will be invaluable for my continuing studies and subsequent career.
Q: What did you find to be the most rewarding part of this virtual experience?
As well as forming relationships with my Business Practicum peers, I was also able to learn alongside other Practicum students in my cultural and language classes. These students majored in a range of disciplines from Agriculture to Journalism, and I really enjoyed hearing their different perspectives. For a virtual program, the relationships developed in this way was a happy surprise, and really added to my overall experience. ‘Social Zooms’ were a weekly occurrence and provided a platform for all participants and facilitators to get to know one another whilst sharing our placement experiences and insights with the wider cohort. Although optional, I think this was incredibly valuable in promoting regular self-reflection and fostering a sense of community – two things that made this program so special.
Q: Were you able to learn about the Indonesian culture from this virtual program? If yes, how was this achieved?
In language classes, seminar presentations, movie screenings, my internship, and the program’s social activities, I consistently felt as though I was simultaneously understanding and discovering more about Indonesian culture. The more-formal classroom learning served as a strong grounding in Indonesian culture, and the opportunity to interact with such friendly and open Indonesians really consolidated and complemented this. I certainly would not call myself an ‘expert’ in Indonesian culture, but my interest has definitely been peaked, and I cannot wait to learn more—hopefully in-country someday soon!
Q: How will the virtual internship benefit or influence your career?
As a young professional in the Indo-Pacific, I think a basic understanding of Indonesia is critical from both a business and cultural perspective. In this way, this program was hugely beneficial.
Q: Would you recommend this virtual program to your friends?
Q: Favourite Indonesian word/phrase:
Q: Describe your experience of the virtual internship program in three words:
Fascinating, challenging, enriching.